The Actors Gymnasium Circus & Performing Arts Camp Kids learn the arts of circus, drama and movement (hello, tumbling, juggling, trapeze, tightwire, stilts!). Each day begins with a warm-up, followed by training and workshops. They also take several field trips and create and participate in an end-of-session circus-theater performance. 927 Noyes St, Evanston (847-328-2795, actorsgynmansium.com). Jun 17–Aug 9. $1,080. Ages 9–15.
Ballet Chicago Ballerina Dream campers will create and perform a dance, decorate tutus and tiaras, make their very own princess wands and more. Eligible students ages 11 and up may be selected to attend the School of Ballet Chicago’s annual program. 17 N State St, 19th floor (312-251-8838, balletchicago.org). Summer Course runs Jun 24–Jul 26, Junior Intensive runs Jul 29–Aug 9, Ballerina Dream Camp runs Jun 17–21. $200 for camp; $440 for intensive; $2,000 for summer course. Ages 4–18.
Beauty & Brawn Summer Camp This Reggio Emilia inspired camp has it all. Campers will participate in a series of projects and activities that include photography, music, sketching, drawing, painting, storytelling and dancing, among many others. 3501 W Fullerton. (773-772-9808, beautyandbrawngallery.com). Jun 24-28. Jul 1-5. Jul 8-12. Jul 15-19. Jul 22-26. Jul 29-Aug 2. Aug 5-9. $65 per day, $300 per week. Ages 4-12.
Camp Jam Chicago Unleash your child’s inner rocker as he or she learns from professional musicians who’ve accompanied Ted Nugent and Michael Jackson—just to name a few. Kids learn instrument-specific techniques, as well as how to play with a band. Aspiring jammers of all abilities welcome. There’s also an overnight option. Lake Forest Academy, 1500 W Kennedy Rd, Lake Forest (800-513-0930, campjam.com). Day camp Jul 15–19, 22–26; overnight Jul 14–19, 21–26. $595–$1,495. Ages 11–17.
Chicago Filmmakers Digital Movie-Making Summer Camp Is there a bit of Spielberg in your child? Chicago Filmmakers’ two-week camps cover all aspects of digital video production, from film conception through all the stages of production to a final group-made movie. Lights, camera, action! 5243 N Clark St (773-293-1446, chicagofilmmakers.org). Digital Moviemaking (ages 10–12) Jun 20–Jul 3, Jul 22–Aug 2; Advanced Moviemaking (ages 13–16) Jul 8–19, Aug 5–16. $450–$475. Ages 10–16.
Chicago Kids Company The two-week Musical Theater Camp kicks off by discussing plays and characters—everything from scenery to costumes to props. Theater games and auditions round out day one, then it’s full steam ahead to rehearsal. A weeklong Junior camp (ages 6–9) and a Fairy Tale Theater Camp (ages 4–6) are also offered. 4104 N Nashville Ave (773-205-9600, chicagokidscompany.com). Fairy Tale, Jul 8–12; Junior, Jul 15–19, Musical Theater, Jul 22–Aug 2. $150–$500. Ages 4–15.
Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center Little dancers learn the basics of floor barre, ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip-hop and West African styles. CMDC also offers a summer intensive for super serious dancers. Dearborn Station Building, 47 W Polk St (312-461-0030, cmdcschool.com/summercamp). Jun 18–Aug 10. $560–$1,700. Ages 5–17. Summer Intensive participants ages 9 and older must audition.
CircEsteem Summer Camp Barnum & Bailey fans will be in heaven at this circus arts camp. CircEsteem gets little clowns moving and imagining: Campers learn iconic circus skills, including unicycling, trampoline, stilt walking and more. 4730 N Sheridan Rd (312-731-4242, circesteem.org). Jun 18–Aug 3. $260 per week. Ages 7–17.
Columbia College Summer Arts Camp Kids develop new skills through activities such as painting, creating short films and staging a play. Camp culminates in an end-of-session gallery show, film screening and stage performance. Columbia College Theater building, 72 E 11th St (312-369-7574, colum.edu). Jun 24–Aug 2. $1,760. Grades 3 to 9.
Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop Themed, weeklong camp sessions include acting, singing, dancing and theater games and culminate in original performances created by the campers. Young thespians learn about every aspect of theater, including making costumes and props, from field professionals. Locations vary (773-944-9146, dreambigperformingarts.com). Jun 11–Aug 31. $225 per one-week session. Ages 4–18.
Emerald City Theatre Company Summer Camp At these super-popular camps, kids learn the basics of acting, singing and dancing by developing scenes, plays and characters. Mini drama queens and kings will dig tackling themes ranging from superheroes to Disney musicals to Fame. 2933 N Southport Ave (773-529-2690, emeraldcitytheatre.com). Jun 3–Aug 23. $225–$900. Ages 3½–13.
eta Creative Arts Foundation Kids hone their performing-arts skills in small groups focused on singing, dancing and acting. Each session ends with a production. Now in its 22nd year, eta’s camp theme in 2013 is “Chicago on the Nile.” 7558 S Chicago Ave (773-752-3955, etacreativearts.org). Jun 24–Aug 2. $500–$600. Ages 6–12.
Facets Kids Film Camp Count on the film experts at Facets to focus on the fundamentals: blocking, editing, mise en scéne, directing and, yes, criticism. 1517 W Fullerton Ave (773-281-9075, cicff.org). Jun 17–Aug 2. $350–$450 per session. Ages 7–14.
Frankie’s Fashion Camp Calling all fashionistas: Trendy kids’ boutique Frankie’s on the Park offers weeklong fashion and design sessions to teach kids everything about the industry. (It’s like Project Runway without all the snark!) Each day has a theme, such as visual merchandising, buying or designing, and includes a related project. Campers’ creations are showcased at the end of each week. 2322 N Clark St (773-248-0400, frankiesonthepark.com). Weekly sessions from Jun 10–Jul 19. $250 per week. Ages 9–13.
Girls Rock! Chicago Learning through music lessons, band practice and music-related games, girls unleash their inner Lady Gaga or riot grrrl. Campers get a taste of every aspect of the music world, including band marketing, management and even logo design. Your daughter will even have the chance to write her own music and perform it at the End-of-Camp Extravaganza, which is open to the public. 2022 W Washington Blvd (773-289-2670, girlsrockchicago.org). $425 per weeklong session. Jul 8–Jul 14, Aug 5–Aug 11. Ages 8–16.
Gus Giordano Dance School One of the most renowned names in jazz dance, Giordano offers a fun, fast-paced camp. Your tiny dancer will explore the dance styles of hip-hop, jazz, ballet, modern and musical theater. Campers participate in craft projects, yoga and play during their lunch hour. 5230 N Clark St (773-275-5231, gusgiordanodanceschool.com). Jun 17–Aug 16. $450 per week. Ages 5–14.
Hubbard Street Dance Camps Professional choreographers introduce campers (grades K-6) to the art of dancing from the ground up. Ballet, jazz, and hip-hop dance camps are offered for advanced dancers (grades 3-7). 1147 W Jackson Blvd. (312-850-9744, hubbardstreetdance.com). Session 1: June 24-July 12. Session 2: July 22-Aug 9. $200-$300 per week, $600-$665 per session. Grades K-7.
Hyde Park Art Center Creativity Camps In the mornings, campers attend visual-arts camp where they paint, draw, sculpt and more. In the afternoons, kids polish stage skills with performance activities, such as improvisation, clowning and yoga. Highlights include an end-of-session performance and several field trips to nearby hot spots, such as the Smart Museum of Art. 5020 S Cornell Ave (773-324-5520, hydeparkart.org). Jun 11–Aug 31. $TBD. Prekindergarten to 5th grade.
Joffrey Ballet Tiny ballerinas get inspired by the Little Prince theme in Joffrey’s Prince and Princess camp (ages 3–6). Youth and teen dance camps, two-week intensive workshops and more round out the offerings. In addition to intensive training, sessions cover topics such as jazz, pointe, body conditioning, Pilates and more. 8 E Randolph St (312-784-4600, joffrey.org). Camps, Jun 17–21; intensives, Jun 24–Aug 9. $TBD. Ages 3–16.
Kendall College Summer Camps Spice up your mini Top Chef’s summer with day or overnight camp at Kendall College, where kids learn cooking techniques from some of the city’s fine food and dining stars. Overnight campers will develop their culinary skills as they explore the city with activities such as attending the Broadway in Chicago theater series, restaurant dining and boat tours of the city. 900 N North Branch St (312-752-2206, culinary.kendall.edu). Jun 25–Aug 10. $900–$1,300. Ages 3–18.
The Kids’ Table With a different theme each week, such as Eating a Rainbow and Breakfast Bonanza, not only do kids learn the basics of cooking—washing food, measuring and mixing—but they explore the world of it, too, in programs such as All About Asia, South of the Border and American Classics. 2337 W North Ave (773-235-2665, kids-table.com). Jun 11–Aug 31. Prices vary. Ages 2–16.
Language and Music School Kids learn Spanish via music- and performance-based activities like treasure hunts, crafts, games, puppet shows and plays. Weather permitting, there are field trips to the bread store down the street and other nearby places. All campers are required to visit with the director for placement. 150 N Oak Park Ave (708-524-5252, lmschool.com). Dates vary. $158 per week. Ages 2–9
Lookingglass Theatre Company Campers ages 5 to 18 can opt to either learn theater basics or perfect their technique in an action-filled physical theater class by learning juggling, tumbling and circus skills through themes like Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan stories. High-school teens focus on play creation based on themes, including race, responsibility and education. 821 N Michigan Ave (773-477-9257, lookingglasstheatre.org). Jun 17–Aug 30. $525–$700 per two-week session, $850 per four-week session. Ages 5–18.
Merit School of Music Camps Students from 158 Chicagoland zip codes assemble for music camps, including voice, guitar, piano, saxophone, band and jazz. 38 S Peoria St (312-786-9428, meritmusic.org). Jun 25–Aug 16. $TBD. Kindergarten to 12th grade.
Modeling Camp Chicago Don’t worry, Tyra Banks’s scrutiny is not involved. This non-competitive camp gives girls the opportunity to pony stomp and give good face in the confines of a downtown hotel. At the end of the four days, future cover stars can meet local agents and fashion directors. Hilton Chicago, 720 S Michigan Ave (888-757-5575, modelingcamp.com). Aug 6–9. $999. Ages 12–18.
Northlight’s Performing Arts Camp The focus is on professional theater training, but the counselors mix in summer-camp traditions (such as a weekly Friday visit to an area water park for kids who are old enough). There’s an end-of-session showcase for family and friends performed on Northlight’s professional stage. Each week includes a visit from a guest artist affiliated with a theater—such as Steppenwolf, the Goodman, Chicago Shakes and Lookingglass. A limited number of need-based scholarships are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. 9301 N Gross Point Rd, Skokie (847-679-9501, northlight.org). Jun 17–Aug 16. $895–$925 for one session, $1,770–$1,830 for two sessions; one week Adventures in Playmaking session $250. Grades 3 to 10.
Old Town School of Folk Music See “At camp, I learned….” 4544 N Lincoln Ave (773-728-6000, oldtownschool.org). Jun 24–Aug 16. $1,600 for four-week session, extended hours for $500 per session. Ages 6–10.
One Strange Bird Summer Camp Of the million creative courses offered at this art center, there has to be one perfect for your little Picasso—or mini Stan Lee, if they prefer. Weekly classes teach everything from the classics (drawing and painting) to comic book-making, surrealism and sewing. 2515 W North Ave (773-276-4420, onestrangebird.com). Weekly sessions Jun 3–Aug 30. Morning or afternoon $200; Full day $350. Ages 4–11. Before and after care available.
The Paintbrush Summer Art Camp Mini Monets join together to improve their skills with art lessons, projects and exploration. 2856 N Halsted St (773-636-1968, thepaintbrush.net). Dates TBD. One-week session $270, one day $55. Ages 4–10.
Piven Theater Camp Workshops focus on improv, scene study and stage combat. Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St, Evanston (847-866-6597, piventheater.org). Jun 25–Aug 3. $355 and up. Grades 4 to 12.
Play On Drama Camp Professional theater-training goes hand in hand with field trips, swimming and outdoor fun for a well-rounded camp experience. Campers attend acting, improv, musical-theater and film classes, plus various workshops and electives. 201 Sheridan Rd, Evanston (847-337-9614, playonltd.com). Jun 17–Aug 9. $860 for one session, $1,650 for both sessions. Grades 2 to 8.
Provision Theater Company Campers learn about character development, improve their poise and forge new friendships via weekly themes (such as The Little Mermaid and Oliver!) and with games, dancing, singing and costume contests. 1001 W Roosevelt Rd (312-455-0065, provisiontheater.org). Jun 24–Aug 9. $225 for one week. Ages 5–11.
River North Chicago Dance Company Kids whirl and twirl their way through an intensive program designed for intermediate to advanced dancers. The three-day workshop offers four classes per day in areas such as jazz, ballet, style, dynamics and expression. Ruth Page Center, 1016 N Dearborn St (312-944-2888, rivernorthchicago.com). Jul 27–29. $320. Ages 11–17.
Salt Creek Butterfly Farm Art and Nature Camp Little lepidopterists can raise the fluttering insects from egg to adulthood, documenting the metamorphoses in story time and artwork. The grounds are a monarch waystation, so expect to use a lot of orange paint. 10545 74th St, Countryside (708-601-1080, saltcreekbutterflyfarm.com). Jun 3–Aug 15. $185 per session. Ages 6–12.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago In the Children’s Workshops, kids explore the Art Institute and surrounding parks, monuments and public art, while learning about sculpture, painting, printmaking and more. Middle-schoolers have several camp options to choose from, including Animation Camp and Web Design Camp. Additionally, the entire clan can take part in family camps in the morning. See “Nuclear fusion,” page 42. 280 S Columbus Dr (312-629-6170, saic.edu). Jun 17–Aug 16. $425–$850. Ages 4–13.
School of Rock Summer Camp Mini rock stars hone their skills through one-on-one instruction of songwriting and recordings. They also get busy with band makeovers, photo shoots and field trips. Each session ends with a performance for friends and family. And a friendly FYI from the kind folks at School of Rock: Campers should have some musical experience. 3043 N Ashland Ave (773-857-3804, schoolofrock.com). Jun 25–Aug 10. $1,200. Ages 9 and up.
Second City Summer Camp SNL-bound kids can spend the summer at one of the nation’s most renowned improvisation and comedy houses. Campers perform a show at the end of the session. 1616 N Wells St (312-664-4032, secondcitysummers.com). Jun 10–Aug 30. Two-week sessions $750. Ages 11–18.
Studio BE It’s theater-palooza for stage-smitten youngsters and teens at Studio BE this summer. 3110 N Sheffield Ave (773-248-5900, studio-be.org). Dates and price TBD. Ages 7–18.
Swedish American Museum Children “travel” to a different country for each of the first four days of the Pioneer of the World Day Camp—via crafts, songs and visits from special guests. 5211 N Clark St (773-728-8111, swedishamericanmuseum.org). Jul 8–12, Aug 5–9. Nonmembers $250, members $200. Ages 7–10.
Taste of Trinity Boys and girls discover the basics of Irish dance at Trinity Academy of Dance, learning the proper techniques to spritely Irish music. Each six-class session concludes with a 15-minute performance for family and friends. No previous dance experience is necessary. Neither are Irish curls, but they sure are cute. 2936 N Southport Ave (773-529-4822, trinityirishdancers.com). June and July. $95 per six-class session. Ages 3½–12.
The Musical Offering In Evanston, a classical hub, mini maestros learn to read sheet music through singing, instruments and games in the Windows into Music camp. The older kids 9 and up (by audition only), dubbed Music Stars, hone composition and collaboration skills. 743 Custer Ave (847-866-6260, themusicaloffering.org). Jun 17–28, Jul 8–19. "Windows into Music" one week $195, two weeks $325; "Music Stars" one week $305, two weeks $525. Ages 5–17.
Three Cat Education Kids become jacks of all theatrical trades and masters of fun at this camp offering something new each week. Depending on their session, kids can act, sing, dance, write, or even play with puppets. 6205 N Sheridan Rd (312-970-9840, threecatproductions.com/education). Jun 17–28, weekly sessions Jul 8–Aug 2. $195–350. Ages 7–12. Click here for info on Three Cat's teen camps.
Viola Project These girls-only Shakespeare-focused camps allow drama queens to act, choreograph, design and hit the beach. City Lit Theatre, 1020 W Bryn Mawr (773-349-2685, violaproject.org). Weekly sessions from Jul 8–Aug 9. $295–$900. Ages 10–16.
Wishcraft Programs focus on sewing, fashion, personal style, interior design and art for kids’ wardrobes. Green techniques are integrated into all activities as kids focus on creativity and being good citizens of the planet. 2312 W Roscoe St (773-348-9474, wishcraftworkshop.com). Half-day Jun 10–Jun 21; full-day Jun 24–Aug 30. Starts at $295 plus materials. Ages 5–14.
Youth Company Chicago The young kids, ages 4–12, rehearse for one to three weeks for a performance of The Wizard of Oz. Teens ages 13–17 (who pass the audition) get saucier material (and puppets) while practicing for Avenue Q. 5338 W Lawrence Ave (312-324-3700, youthcompanychicago.org). • Lake Street Church of Evanston, 607 Lake St, Evanston. Ages 4–12 Jun 26–Aug 23; ages 13–17 Jun 25–Aug 7. $195–$1,110, teens $600. Ages 4–17.